Tuesday 25 October 2016

Disgraced Console charity chief told auditors his wife drove 'old jeep' – but it turned out to be a €57k Audi car - report

Eilish O’Regan and Niall O'Connor

Published 08/07/2016 | 14:50

Paul Kelly Picture: Robbie Reynolds
Paul Kelly Picture: Robbie Reynolds

Disgraced Console charity chief Paul Kelly told auditors his wife drove “ old jeep” – but it turned out to be a €57,149 Audi car, a damning report has revealed.

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The unpublished HSE audit of the bereavement charity at the centre of a major financial scandal has revealed how investigators were confronted with “hindrance and a lack of candour” when they tried to delve into where its funding was being spent.

It said that from the beginning the auditors were subject to various attempts to hinder the work and keep the team away from Console’s headquarters .

They were even directed to a premises where records were supposed to be held-  only to discover it was  a centre where counselling was underway.

He submitted documents which purported to be several years old – but they were compiled on the day they were sent to the auditors.

He described his wife as “just a volunteer” when  she was a director, company secretary , chairman of the company and cheque signatory.

Items on visa card statements were redacted  and there were delays providing missing statement.

The audit which covers the years 2012 to 2014 found massive spending on salaries, foreign travel and cars.

Between 2012 to 2014 there were 20 credit cards held by ten people in the names in eleven people.

Different financial statements provided by Console meant that salaries were €116,000 in one document.Staff numbers in one set of accounts said there were seven employees and another said there were five.

There was also a gap of €116,000 in administration costs .There was a difference of €30,000 in the cost of salaries.

There was no disclosure of €90,000 in consultancy payments to Paul Kelly.

Between 2012 to 2014 Paul Kelly and his wife made an average of €535 in cash withdrawals from credit cards a week.

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